Seven voluntary organisations are receiving an early Christmas present from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund.

Grants totalling nearly £9,000 have been awarded from the Fund to charities and voluntary organisations in Essex, Suffolk and East London. The Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).


Essex & Suffolk Water established their community Fund with ECF in 2003, to give support to a wide range of local projects and organisations now and in the future. The Fund has since awarded over 125 grants, totalling more than £95,000.


Organisations to benefit from the 2017/18 round of grants are:


• BATIAS Independent Advocacy Service, Basildon - £1,800 to run monthly information mornings on personal safety for people with learning disabilities, helping them to live independently.
• Melbourne Project, Chelmsford - £1,000 to support a homework club for local children and an older people′s club.
• Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, Maldon - £1,000 towards a new permanent heritage exhibition focusing on the role of women in WWI.
• Thurrock Mencap Society - £2,000 to run a new healthy lifestyle programme for members with special needs.
• The ARC (Adult Resource Centre), Thurrock - £1,000 to help purchase sensory and activity equipment for a group supporting adults with special needs.
• Palgrave and District Community Council, Suffolk - £1,500 to buy new equipment for community playing field.
• Aanchal Women′s Aid, Redbridge - £500 for service that supports women rebuilding their lives following domestic and sexual violence.


Angie Cahill, of BATIAS, said: "People with a learning disability can often be the victims of hate crime and bullying. Having this peer support group, where people will listen to you and help you to think of ways of keeping safe in the future, can mean the difference from staying home and isolated to being able to feel confident about going out in the community".


Ian Flint, CEO of Stow Maries Aerodrome, said: "We are always seeking new ways to interest and inform people, of all ages, on the Air Campaign during WWI. We are delighted to receive this funding as it means we can install a new, permanent exhibition. This unique heritage attraction will focus on the roles of women in the early 20th century, and the immeasurable impact of their actions during the Great War, both at Stow Maries and other locations".


Shirley Robinson of Thurrock Mencap Society, said: "On the surface, running a healthy eating and fitness course for our Members may seem like a nice activity. But in reality, food awareness and being active regularly is a big problem for people with special needs, particularly for those with Down′s syndrome. This grant will help our members to gain a healthier approach to life, whilst having fun".


Grant applications are considered by an employee committee and all projects supported are related to either the environment, health and wellbeing or providing community support.


Michael Page, External Communications Consultant, Essex & Suffolk Water said, "Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives and we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers.′′


"We also strive to make a positive contribution to the communities that we serve on a daily basis, and our long-standing partnership with Essex Community Foundation is one of the ways we endeavour to this.


We are very proud to have awarded grants to seven fantastic organisations and I hope that this support will give them a real boost to help them continue their inspiring and much needed work."


For more information on how to apply for a grant to support your charitable work, visit or call 01245 356018.